World View: Russia-Iran Airbase Agreement Further Isolates Saudi Arabia

In this handout image supplied by Host Photo Agency / RIA Novosti, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (R) and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani meet during the BRICS/SCO Summits - Russia 2015 on July 09, 2015 in Ufa, Russia.
Alexey Filippov/Host Photo Agency/Ria Novosti via Getty Images

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Russia-Iran airbase agreement further isolates Saudi Arabia
  • Continuing Mideast realignment: Russia and Iran vs Saudi Arabia
  • Generational alignments of the world’s religions – hypothesis

Russia-Iran airbase agreement further isolates Saudi Arabia

Russian bombers take off from Iranian Hamedan air base on Tuesday (Mehr)
Russian bombers take off from Iranian Hamedan air base on Tuesday (Mehr)

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it has cleared the way for Russian bombers to travel across Iraq’s airspace traveling from an Iran airbase to bomb targets in Syria.

On the same day, Iran announced that Russia’s bombers will be stationed at an Iranian airbase near Hamadan, a city in western Iran. This will be the first time since World War II that Iran will permit foreign military actions to be launched from Iran’s soil.

According to Pentagon spokesman Col. Chris Garver:

They informed us they were coming through, and we ensured safety of flight as those bombers passed through the area and toward their target and then when they passed out [of Syria] again.

Tuesday is not the first time Russia has launched airstrikes from outside of Syria. Last October, Russia began launching long-range rockets into Syria from the Caspian Sea. ( “8-Oct-15 World View — Russia dramatically escalates Syria war launching cruise missiles from Caspian Sea”) Tuesday’s announcement takes Russia’s military dominance of the Mideast one step further. VOA and AEI Iran Tracker and Russia Today

Continuing Mideast realignment: Russia and Iran vs Saudi Arabia

According to Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council:

Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow to fight against terrorism in Syria is strategic and we exchange our capacities and possibilities in this regard. […]

The conditions have grown difficult for the terrorists due to the constructive and extensive cooperation among Iran, Russia, Syria and the resistance front and this trend will continue with new and massive operations until their full annihilation.

At the same time, Shamkhani was critical of Saudi Arabia:

It is not acceptable for the Muslim world to see Saudi Arabia investing towards the empowerment of terrorist and takfiri groups [non-believers] instead of fighting the occupation by the Zionist regime [Israel].

Shamkhani’s use of “takfiri groups” is purposely ambiguous. For the West, he undoubtedly wanted listeners to interpret “takfiri groups” as a reference to so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). This is the game everyone is playing in the Mideast. Iran, Syria, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all claim that they are targeting ISIS, but in fact Iran, Syria and Russia have done very little to target ISIS, but instead consider all Sunni civilians in Syria to be terrorists and takfiri, and have been targeting them.

Indeed, Syrian warplanes, aided by Russia, have for five years been targeting schools, hospitals, and neighborhoods of ordinary Sunni civilians, including women and children, whom they consider to be like cockroaches to be exterminated, with huge barrel bombs laden with explosives, metal and chemical weapons (chlorine). And on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported that Syrian and Russian warplanes are using incendiary weapons like napalm to create massive explosive fires in civilian neighborhoods and other Sunni targets.

So when Shamkhani blames Saudi Arabia for “the empowerment of terrorist and takfiri groups,” he’s referring to Saudi support for any Sunnis in Syria, even women and children. The inference to be drawn from Shamkhani’s remarks is that the stationing of Russia’s warplanes on Iranian soil is directed at their centuries-old enemy, Saudi Arabia, as well as anyone in Syria.

And indeed, that is obviously true. With the US in control of Iraqi airspace, the Saudis could feel protected from an Iranian attack. But now the US is giving way to Russia, as well as to Iran, and this will only cause the Saudis to feel far less secure.

Once again, a new event is emerging that validates the Generational Dynamics predictions made ten years ago. Long-time readers know that Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries will be one side, and India, Iran, the United States and the West will be on the other side. ( “8-Jul-16 World View — Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia”)

When I first made this prediction, years ago, it seemed almost psychopathic to suggest that Iran was going to be America’s ally. However, regular readers know that for the last few years there have been a regular series of events that move the Mideast along the predicted trend line, with Syria, Russia and Iran more closely allied, and with close cooperation from the US and the West. At the same time, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been getting more and more distant, as I’ve reported many times since the “Arab Spring” in 2011. If you want to understand where the Mideast is going, then follow the Generational Dynamics trend lines and forecasts, and you will have the answer. FARS (Tehran) and AFP

Generational alignments of the world’s religions – hypothesis

I’ve been writing for a long time that there is a centuries-old historic alignment between Hindus and Shia Muslims. I’d now like to expand that concept to discuss a hypothesis involving historic religious alignments.

The first observation is that if Hinduism is aligned with Shia Islam, then it makes sense that Buddhism is aligned with Sunni Islam. The reason that this makes sense is that Hinduism and Buddhism are bitter historic enemies, just as Shia and Sunni Buddhism are bitter historic enemies. So if Shias and Hindus are aligned, it makes sense that Sunnis and Buddhists should be aligned as well.

Also, for reasons that I’ll explain below, I believe that Hindus/Shias are aligned with Jews, Protestants and Orthodox Christians, while Buddhists/Sunnis are aligned with Catholics.

To test this, I’ve gone to the CIA Fact Book, and made a list of countries that are predominantly one of these religions:

  • Hindu: Fiji (Protestant 45%, Hindu 27.9%), Guyana (Protestant 30.5%, Hindu 28.4%), India (note: Buddhist:0%), Mauritius, Nepal,
  • Shia Muslim: Iran, Bahrain
  • Buddhist: Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, China (18.2%), Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore, Sri Lanka (Sinhalese 70.2%, vs Hindu Tamils)
  • Sunni Muslim: Indonesia, Malaysia

Examining this list, we can see that the hypothesis probably does not apply to Japan, N. Korea or S. Korea, but this is not surprising, since I believe that this hypothesis mainly applies to Europe, the Mideast and Central Asia, where the most wars have been fought between Buddhists and Hindus or Muslims, which is not the case for Japan or Korea, where the main wars have been fought with each other and with China.

The next observation is that religions can be split into two groups:

  • Universal religions: Catholicism, Sunni Islam, Buddhism.
  • Targeted religions: Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Shia Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism

By “universal religions,” I mean religions that can spread to any country, and have done so.

By “targeted religions,” I mean religions that target a specific regional or national population on a geographic basis. You can be a “Catholic” anywhere in the world, but you can’t just be an “Orthodox Christian,” unless you’re a “Greek Orthodox” or “Russian Orthodox” or some other branch. The same thing is true of the Protestant religion, which has about 20 different churches in the United States alone, each targeting a different group. There are only three religions that have “gone viral” and become virtually universal: Catholicism, Sunni Islam and Buddhism. For example, in China, you’ll find plenty of Catholics, plenty of Sunni Muslims, and plenty of Buddhists, but few Greek Orthodox or Shia Muslims or Hindus.

So when we look at which countries will be aligned in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the hypothesis is the “universal religion” countries will be aligned against the “targeted religion” countries.

Obviously, this hypothesis is a very broad generalization, and there are exceptions that one can point to. But in any generational crisis war, these are the alignments that I expect to see.

The final observation is that these alignments would also apply throughout history. We can therefore provide two lists of historical dynasties that correspond to the above groups of religions:

  • Dynasties for targeted religions: Parthian – Sasanian – Persian – Shia – Mauryan – Hindu – Slavs – Judaism
  • Dynasties for universal religions: Seleucid – Bactrian – Arabian – Marwanians – Sunni – Khorasan – Abbasids – Mongols – Tartars – Turks – Ottomans – Buddhist

This is a first pass at a hypothesis relating the world’s religions to each other in a significant way. There are still details to be filled in, and exceptions to be enumerated and explained, but I believe that the core of this hypothesis is valid. And if it can be properly defined, it will be a powerful generational tool in analyzing history and in predicting future trends and events. CIA World Fact Book – Religions

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Iran, Hamadan, Hamedan, Chris Garver, Iraq, Syria, Caspian Sea, takfiri, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Ali Shamkhani, Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch, napalm, Hindu, Shia Islam, Jews, Protestants, Orthodox Chrstians, Buddhists, Sunni Islam, Catholics, universal religions, targeted religions
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.